The Ups, The Downs, and The Side Eyes In Between

“Valentine’s Day is the worst holiday ever.”

No, this is not a quote from person who just had her heart broken, or the one who never has a date on that sappy day.

This would be a quote from my husband.

Said over and over.

Since December 26th, when he realized this was the next holiday which required a gift.

Now seven years ago (that’s CRAZY TALK by the way), I would have been totally offended. And in 2009 (I think?), I may have thrown a slight tantrum when, bless his heart, he bought me a giant bag of animal crackers as a token of his devotion to me.

The memory is foggy, but I think I said something to the effect of, “I realize I am on an animal crackers kick lately, BUT IT’S VALENTINE’S DAY, AND DO YOU EVEN LOVE ME? ARE WE BREAKING UP?”

Followed by some major side-eye.

I later apologized for my ridiculous over-reaction (he tried, y’all) and I tell you what, that sweet boy has never bought me a big bag of snack food as an actual present since.

All of this to say, I’ve been thinking lately about marriage lately and the expectations we put on the other. It was kickstarted by my church doing a series called Weird Marriage (#WeirdMarriage) last month.


I know couples who have successfully achieved this, so if you think I’m talking about you or your mama, I’m (probably) not. However, I’m just going to put it out there: I don’t know how couples who get married in their teen years (or, more importantly, couples with the maturity level of…) make it.

Let me tell you why.

Because marriage requires some major growing pains.

(Now, a few of you are laughing right now because I was 23 and Brett was 22 when we were married. So yes, we were spring chickens and I robbed the cradle [I made the cougar joke so you don’t have to]. However, we had been together since 18 and 17 respectfully, and lo, we needed those 5 years of date time at that age. Plus, considering a perfect Saturday night to me is take-out with an American Pickers marathon, I feel like the maturity side was there).

(Let me also add that Brett and I have a very happy marriage. He makes me laugh everyday and I make him laugh when he laughs at my laugh. Life is grand.)

(But we all have speed bumps, my dears).

Once you’re married, you realize the world doesn’t revolve around you. Don’t give me the Sunday School Life Group answer that it never has. We have all have or do make choices based on our own needs the majority of the time, and it is magnified once you’re married.

It can be trivial things (like the importance of a made bed, can I get an amen), or it could be major things.

Here is the most major difference between Brett and myself: How we fight.

YES, STOP THE PRESSES. We fight. Not very often. And ninety-nine percent of the time, I won’t be able to tell you what it was about the next morning.

(Usually it’s because he didn’t say what I’d thought he’d say when I vented my problems. He likes to inject REASON and SENSE, for Pete’s sake).

But we do.

And we do differently.

If I’m upset about something/I upset him about something, I want to hash it out then and there. Get it out in the open. TALK. Like as soon as I realize we’re arguing, let’s GET ‘R DONE. If that makes things a little less pleasant for the time being, so be it, but no sense in dragging it out.

My husband on the other hand would rather drag it out for a SWEET FOREVER. He won’t raise his voice, but he just goes into silence mode. He’ll still talk (“Pass the salt, please”), but he’d rather just let it blow over and then talk calmly about it in a few centuries hours.

This used to cause another fight in itself, and it sometimes sneaks in again. All in all though, I have learned that I need to let him simmer for a little while and he has learned he has to speak to me about the situation before I turn gray-headed.

And I tell you what, we now both listen to each other a whole lot better. That’s why it’s major. Because while there are a lot more ingredients to a happy marriage, we all know that if you can’t communicate effectively, you’ve got some work to do. Because how do most fights begin? We either keep it bottled up and don’t say anything until it explodes, or we just don’t want to burden our Sweet Baboo with our problems.

And that just leads to me being mad at your for not understanding my problem. Even though if you want to get into technicalities, I never voiced those issues, YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO READ MY MIND.

If we had lived under the same roof years ago while we were dating, no matter how smitten we were with the other, we weren’t mature enough to understand these tangled webs we weave.  And the constantly, you know, LIVING WITH THAT PERSON, would’ve made for a rocky foundation to the start of our marriage.

And without a solid foundation, the house will crumble.

Yesterday, he brought me home a piece of delicious strawberry cake from a local restaurant. He went to lunch with his coworkers and ordered me an extra dessert.  It was super sweet, literally and figuratively.

But the best thing he did was this: “How were your meetings today?”

I even had forgotten that I had told him I had a busy day of meetings during my planning time and after school.  He didn’t.

He listened.

By the way, this is after him coming home a half hour later because of a crazy day he had himself.

The growing pains I mentioned earlier is the “die to self” mentality. Once you realize that your partner’s needs rise above yours, your better half will meet your needs in ways better than you ever could’ve.

A strong marriage is the perfect reflection of Christ’s love for us and ours to Him. Build our foundation upon Him. Cast our fears, anxieties on Him. He must increase, and I must decrease.

And a marriage committed to Him will only thrive. Will there be some bumps along the way? Of course. But at the end of the day, week, month or however long needed to get over that bump, you see your special someone as the child of the King.

So, if your darling buys you a super-size bag of your favorite cracker shaped like a giraffe, laugh and say thank you.

Just enjoy that dessert you will for sure order when you go out to dinner that night.

Happy Valentine’s Day to my sweet guy who can’t stand the day, but gets away with it because he doesn’t set aside just that day to buy me strawberry cake.

I love you!


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